The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) believes that Botswana is at crossroads saying the situation calls for a decisive action from the leadership of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to “engage in fruitful cooperation talks.”
The call was reportedly made at a meeting that was held between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and BOFEPUSU leadership recently.
The federation’s deputy secretary general Ketlhalefile Motshegwa confirmed the meeting.
“On the 3rd February 2016, BOFEPUSU and BCP leadership met as part of our effort to consolidate relations between the two organisations. The two organisations discussed a number of issues pertaining to Labour Polices, issues of national interest; how the two organisations could work together going forward,” said Motshegwa.
He said they have since agreed that they should hold some meetings aimed at deliberating on issues of national importance.
On the envisaged opposition cooperation talks, Motshegwa said “BOFEPUSU welcomes the gesture by the leadership of BCP and UDC to warm to each other. Cooperation and unity between the opposition parties in necessary and healthy for this Country. This gesture is long overdue and Batswana are thirsty for it.”
Motshegwa further stated that a united opposition will “help in holding the current government accountable.”
“The leaders of UDC and BCP need to be courageous, be objective and put the interests of the nation first and build a formidable opposition block that is vibrant, proactive in societal issues and ready to govern at any time,” said Motshegwa.
He said what needs to be done is not only a change of the current leadership of the current government but also of strengthening or overhauling of democratic institutions.
“We need a vibrant public service, a government that respects and upholds human rights, strengthening of democratic institutions instead of the notion that we should have strong leaders. We also need responsible, accountable leadership, public service appointments based on merit and competence and good management of the country’s economy,” said Motshegwa.
He further urged opposition parties to be “patriotic and sacrifice if need be as they have a sacrosanct assignment to bring unity among themselves in order to nurture our democracy.”
Motshegwa warned that, “If they can’t carry out this undertaking then the history and heavens will not forgive them for subjecting Batswana to jaws of autocracy that is synonymous with the current leadership that is accountable to itself.”
According to Motshegwa, given “the prevailing massive socio-economic challenges facing this country, there is need for a united, strong and vibrant opposition that is even ready for change of Government.”
“Our Country is faced with massive corruption, mismanagement of public resources, rising unemployment levels, a leadership that is not accountable to the voter, democratic institutions that are under siege, laws that seem not to be applicable to those in the highest echelons of power,” said Motshegwa.
He said Botswana’s society lives in fear of its own government adding that civil service appointments and promotions are based on nepotism and favouritism.
“The prevailing circumstances promote little creativity in decision-making process as there is only one voice from the above. There are also crises afflicting water and electricity utilities. Our education is in a mess,” charged Motshegwa.
The BOFEPUSU deputy secretary general added that “Our society is divided and in despair. All these challenges are as a result of bad governance if not leadership vacuum. We have an unaccountable government that behaves like they are eternal and believe that their rule is a divine one and therefore are untouchable.”
Hence Motshegwa pointed out that cooperation between opposition parties is not only important but should also be treated as a matter of urgency “given the velocity at which our democratic credentials are regressing.”
He said currently there is no link between the country’s abundant resources and tangible development to ensure that people’s lives are improved.
“This is due to mismanagement of the economy for personal aggrandisement by the country’s current leadership. For quite some time provision of services to the nation has been neglected as the leadership is busy lining up their pockets and competing with each other as to who will loot the country’s economy more than the other,” Motshegwa observed.